We wrap up the insanity with these final picks in Film Threat’s Top Films to Watch on Halloween! Steve Anderson, Jeremy Knox, Matthew Sorrento and Zack Haddad, take us on home!

Night of the Living Dead
Selected by Steve Axe ‘Em Anderson
Where it all began, ladies and gentlemen. This is the movie that gave us what we’ve grown to love. Never mind the catcalls from the naysayers who won’t stop screeching indignantly about Land of the Dead which committed the high crime of being merely good in a lineup of absolute kick ass, Night of the Living Dead is the movie that gave us the entire survival horror genre, and also launched the fantastic career of George Romero. Sure, the Grand Old Man of horror movies has been a little on the outs lately–LOTD might well be an acronymic form of Letdown Of Terrifying Dimensions, and does anyone even remember “Bruiser”?–but let’s face it:

Night of the Living Dead is one of those truly special movies that somehow manages to not feel dated despite the fact that it’s pushing forty. In an era where movies that made the theatre rounds about the same time this year’s eighth graders were born are moldering on the general release shelves at Blockbuster (if they can even be found anymore!), it’s amazing that the only things that give away NOTLD‘s advanced age are that truly god-awful radio and the fact that the whole thing’s in black and white.

NOTLD took incredible chances. What other movie do you know of that sent two young lovers off on a life-or-death mission (to get GAS, no less!), killed them off in a fireball, and then sent half a dozen walking corpses to make them lunch? None, that’s what! A black hero in 1968? Unheard of! Especially in horror movies, who were still trying to get past radioactivity as a plot device and teenage were-things. And yet, it did it all with a minimum of gore and only a soupcon of violence.

Night of the Living Dead. Revolutionary, pioneer, trailblazer, all around good movie. Oh, that we had more like you.

Selected by Jeremy Knox Your Head Off
Arguably the most faithful comic book adaptation ever made until Sin City, even if it wasn’t sourced from a bona-fide actual “Illustrated Novel.” Stephen King’s screenplay is like a punk rock pit mosh set to The Misfit’s “Horror Business” and dedicated to his memories of EC Comics. George Romero proves to be an excellent dance partner, keeping step with King’s every move and besting him now and again. Creepshow is everything modern horror movies try to be. It’s scary, funny, serious, irreverant, over the top and gory as hell. What it isn’t, however, is stupid. Romero is too good of a director to mistake adolescent with juvenile and proves it time and time again. Just watch how Vivica Lindfors anger at her father’s abuse feels totally real in the “Father’s Day” segment. Most directors would have either shied away from realism, or segued it horribly with the rest of the film. Romero does neither and proves that he had a lot more in him than a couple of zombie movies. One of life’s great disappointments is that we’ll never see the slew of projects he wanted to film back in those days when he was still at the top of his game.

In any case, we’ll always have Creepshow. This is a movie so damn good that some people could spend entire lifetimes trying to recreate it and fail. One of the best horror movies ever made and in a class by itself. This is the movie that I could watch every Halloween and never get sick of. The perfect film for every taste.

Ed Wood
Selected by Psychotic Matt Sorrento
On Halloween, you could opt for a standby and watch Bela Lugosi creep out the locals in 1931’s Dracula. Instead, why not select a tribute to the icon of horror that captures his grandeur as the Count, as well as his twilight in cheese of the 1950s? Tim Burton’s now legendary Ed Wood highlights the goofy pleasures of one peculiar character who celebrated the dark holiday every day of the year. The endearing king-of-crap, Ed Wood, Jr. (Johnny Depp), enlists the washed-up Lugosi (the brilliant, Oscar-winning Martin Landau) to jump-start one of the most notorious careers in filmmaking. Not only are the pleasures of creating horror/sci-fi captured in this one, so is Wood’s love of dress-up year-round (yes, that means Depp in angora). Landau’s Bela is perfect to chant dialog that redefined camp. Don your capes and indulge in this exuberant tribute to movie land.

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Selected by Zack Hangman Haddad
Candy, pumpkins, and costumes, these are but a few things we can associate with Halloween. But what films can we associate with this specific holiday? Personally, when I think Halloween, one film comes to mind: Something Wicked This Way Comes, directed by Jack Clayton in 1983. The film focuses on these two boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Holloway, who discover the dark secrets of a local carnival. This was a film I first saw when I was about nine and it was a week before Halloween. At that age that movie was extremely scary, now not so much. It is safe to say that this really isn’t even a horror film. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Dark and the spider scene are still scary, but not much else compared to many horror films we have today. No, the thing that is the scariest about this film is the idea of growing old and accepting the fact of dying.

These two boys wish so much to become older and to no longer be treated like children, while Will’s dad wishes he could become younger so he could watch his young son grow older. Personally I am now at an age where you no longer get to go trick or treating during Halloween, you go to parties and get hammered. Now that may not be such a bad thing but I think the feeling that can resonate in all of us is the feeling of youth and how we can grow to miss it. That is the reason why I think this film is scary. It truly is one of those films that when you think Halloween, you associate Something Wicked This Way Comes, with it. So enjoy your holiday any which way you so choose and remember, next time a Carney tells you he can fulfill your deepest desire, just run.

Want to re-live the excitement! Check out Part One of Film Threat’s Top Films to Watch on Halloween!

Disagree with our picks? Have some picks of your own? Let us know in Film Threat’s Back Talk forum!>>>

Posted on October 31, 2006 in Features by

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